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A-League 2011-2012

Another season of the A-League has now come and gone. So how did it fare? It was a promising start: Kewell and Emerton were back in the country playing, Brisbane Roar looked unbeatable and set a new Australia record and crowds were up a little on last year. At the tail end though, Palmer lost the plot and Gold Coast folded and Tinkler tried to hand his license back. Clearly all is not well. However, I think on balance it was a good season.

The saga around Kewell's return never seemed to end. Eventually he finished up at the Victory. Emerton, on the other hand, arrived with no fuss. I'd been thinking about getting a season ticket and I guess this closed the deal. I'd take Emerton over Kewell any day. To be fair to Kewell though, he seemed to work pretty hard, generally avoided injury and scored eight goals. Not a bad effort. Emerton was similar, hard-working as always, mostly fit and scored four goals. His performance in Sydney's last home game was magnificent. Hard to pick who was better. I think Sydney can be pleased with Emerton, although I'd like to get more value from him.

Brisbane Roar set a record for professional football teams in Australia going without defeat over 36 games. There are a few sports that it's still well behind. Rugby League's reaction was interesting. They tried to undermine it by saying the previous holder, a league team, won all its games. Then an unheard of team was dug up with a longer record. Odd that this was never brought up before :) In the end, it's not a massive deal, but a nice record to have. Brisbane promptly fell apart for a few weeks, losing five in a row. The recovered well and just missed claiming a second Premiership.

Central Coast were deserved Premiers I think. The hard-working ethic has been matched with some skill. Credit to Arnold I suppose. Their form at the end of the season wasn't great, but they hung on to win. However I wasn't surprised to see them miss the final. Perth were a bit of a surprise packet. Often derided for playing a basic, long-ball style, their season started disastrously before they recovered well and finished third. Then they stormed through the finals and into the Grand Final. They played very well in that game before a dubious penalty decision in the final minutes handed Brisbane its second Championship. I thought Brisbane were finishing better and would win in the approaching extra-time against 10 men. But it would have been better had the match gone the distance. It was a cruel way for Perth to miss out.

Purchasing a season ticket was a good idea. It forced me to go to more games and I really enjoyed it. Sydney FC played some awful football sometimes, along with some good stuff, but it was always fun in the stands. We could cheer on a winning team or enjoy putting the boot into some awful performances. They scraped into the finals on the last day - a great game - but their form was pretty ordinary overall. Lavicka left on good terms, but I think he should have done better. I wonder who the next coach will be?

A pretty good season, eg. crowds were up, was overshadowed by shenanigans by billionaire owners. Clive Palmer, always a bit odd it seemed, came out of it looking like a loony. Nathan Tinkler had some credibility, but lost the PR war. The FFA didn't fare too well either though. There must be something behind all the criticisms of failing to consult, lack of input from clubs, a take-it-or-leave-it approach, etc. Bootstrapping a second team in Sydney in a hurry, smacks of desperation. Let's hope they can sort it all out. Bring on Season VIII.